At one time, plastic surgeons concentrated on performing surgery – general anesthetic, incisions, dressings and often lengthy healing periods, especially for major reconstructive procedures. However, new developments in science, procedures and technology have changed the landscape. Today, a plastic surgeon might use a laser or endoscope, perform a minimally invasive office-based procedure with local anesthetic or inject a dermal filler.
Major vs. Minor Plastic Surgery
Endoscopic procedures are one of the newer developments in plastic surgery. An endoscope is a tiny camera on the end of a flexible tube. It allows the surgeon to make only a few very small incisions to perform procedures like a brow or face lift. Previously, such procedures usually required an “ear to ear” incision, with large scars that were concealed within the patient’s hairline. Larger incisions also took longer to heal and increased the risk of bleeding and swelling. These new procedures also allow surgery in younger patients who want to minimize the earliest signs of aging.
Lasers and Liposuction
Lasers incorporate a technology that uses high-intensity light, while liposuction literally sucks out excess fat deposits. Lasers can be used to resurface the skin to remove tiny wrinkles around the mouth and eyelids. In earlier times, there was no treatment for these conditions. Lasers are also used to remove tattoos and age spots, and to treat birthmarks. A new procedure called tumescent liposuction involves distending the tissue with a salt water, adrenaline and local anesthetic. This allows more fat to be aspirated and decreases blood loss from the procedure. Liposuction is used only for localized fat removal, not as an obesity treatment.
In addition to different types of plastic surgeries, other technological advances are available to today’s patients. One of these is the ability to use computer enhancement. After photographing a patient, the surgeon can show the patient what a particular procedure may be able to achieve. It also allows patients to be more specific about the changes they desire. Skin care products are not just found on cosmetic counters. In many cases, certain products are available only with a prescription or only from a physician. Stronger fruit acid preparations, for example, are not available over the counter. Chemical peels, dermal fillers and radio-frequency procedures to remove damaged tissues are other plastic surgery advancements available to today’s patients.
You are not your grandmother and today’s cosmetic and reconstructive surgical techniques are not hers either. Safer, less invasive and less likely to cause major scarring or complications, today’s procedures have come a long way.
Image Credit: ClevelandClinic